German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier wants the remaining US nuclear weapons in his country to be removed as they are obsolete, a magazine reported Friday.
According to the issue of Der Speigel due to go on sale Monday the weapons are "militarily obsolete" and "should be withdrawn from Germany" in the view of Steinmeier, a Social Democrat minister in the ruling coalition. "The withdrawal of this kind of weapon should be a theme at the forthcoming disarmament conference proposed by the United States," the magazine quotes Steinmeier as saying.
His remarks follow a speech in Prague by US President Barack Obama in which he suggested that efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation should be relaunched with the aim of achieving a world "without nuclear weapons".
Steinmeier's remarks also coincide with the traditional Easter demonstrations in which for more than 30 years anti-nuclear protestors have shown their opposition to nuclear weapons. The United States pulled most of their nuclear weapons out of Europe in the 1990s when the Cold War ended.
But Der Spiegel says that about 100 are still positioned in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. Germany has never been a nuclear power. German conservatives, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, believe that the presence of US nuclear weapons on German soil lets Berlin keep influence in a "very sensitive sector", in particular NATO, according to a leading conservative quoted by the magazine.